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Zimbabweans' Stockholm Syndrome
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-02-29 09:00:30
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Among others, there is one thing in politics and history I have never understood: why do dictators desperately need elections? I mean why do some countries make such a big fuss about elections, organizing them carefully, advertising them internationally when there is only one party? You vote for what - the oldest or the youngest, or perhaps the ones who have a small nose or the ones with a big red one? There is no opposition, argument, exchange of ideas … nothing! Just the same package with a different wrapping!

China has elections and all the candidates agree on everything, in every single detail. So why bother? Iran has elections and the question is who’s going to be the next puppet president, they are all the same but let’s see who’s going to make the west angrier. I suppose North Korea doesn’t have elections, sp whose next? Who’s after Kim? Well, Kim junior!

And then there are the others who have opposition but if their opposition is not in prison being tortured, if not assassinated from terrorists, they cannot be voted for because the voters are terrorized with the threat of imprisonment! That’s Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe announced that he feels pretty confident of his party’s victory in next month’s elections.

Since 1980, the man has ruled Zimbabwe for twenty-eight years with an iron fist. The funny thing is that the man has a manifesto as well on how he’s going to rule. Zimbabwe lately entered the Guinness Book of Records for the record inflation of 100,000% - the number is real, I’m not joking. The shops are empty of food and medicine and the people are literally starving, but Mugabe is sure that the people who love him will re-elect him triumphantly! With a gun to my forehead I love anybody!

According to Mugabe his policy has nothing to do with what happens in Zimbabwe but it is because the western countries hate him and with the sanctions they have imposed. Of course, never forget the opposition that gives the wrong idea about the ideal democracy Zimbabwe has. If you have ever been to Zimbabwe you might know that it is a beautiful country with very rich soil. It is a beautiful land that could have been the perfect tourist destination since it combines the old and the new, the tradition and the modern world. The people, from my experience, are very friendly and welcome any stranger.

So where has the wealth, dreams and warmth disappeared? Mugabe killed it; Zimbabwe's people nowadays are suspicious to anything out of their familiar. They are afraid and the smell of fear goes to the visitor of the country. How can a place that suffered so much from racism be racist? It sounds weird but it is true when it comes to Zimbabwe and its rulers because in this case we don’t have to deal with just one ruler but with all of the Mugabe clones that have spread in every city, every little village. These small Mugabe’s are, most of the time, much worse than the prototype - rapists and murderers, criminals and serial killers are the reality of the gang that rules this country. They are not few; unfortunately they are a lot since Mugabe didn’t only corrupt their pocket but also their soul!

Sometimes looking at the opposition you think, why the hell do Mugabe and his gang let them live? Is it because they are just like him dressed with the illusion of democracy? Haven’t we fallen into the same trap before, where the replacement was much worst? Look what happened with Iran, the Shah had to go, he was a dictator not as bad as Mugabe, he was more a Middle East style dictator, but what replaced him, a worst dictator, a religious gang. That’s the worst thing Mugabe has done, make us suspicious that he might not be the worst… if that is possible. Again, we always thought that Idi Amin was the worst that could happen to any African nation until Mugabe came along.

I have asked before, what is South Africa doing? No answer! What is the UN doing? No comment, in this case the General Secretary most likely is on holidays or taking a nap, a long one! So who can help these people? Can they do it themselves? I honestly don’t know, you see it is like the Stockholm Syndrome, they have been the captives of the same criminal for so long that they feel insecure away from him. For twenty-eight years this man has raped and tortured the people of Zimbabwe, and the only thing left is to show these people that there is life after, that freedom is something real and democracy is not a myth.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-02-29 11:27:01
Well put. That is why we also need the input of that gadfly of democracy, Ralph Nader, in the coming elections here in the States. The more opinions and the more parties and the more choices offered the people, the better. Italy, for example, has some thirty parties. Its political miliew is a bit too anarchic and Machiavellian for my taste, but it is surely more democratic than that of Zimbabwe.

As far as showing the people of Zimbabwe that democracy is not a myth I would be careful. It all depends on who does the showing and how is it done. Those of a rationalistic bent who confuse myth with lies, and propose Machiavelli as a good political theorist, and have a history of former colonialism which promoted the "myth" of "the white man's burden," should refrain from doing any showing and let the people find out the hard way, the only way to a genuine democracy; for an imposed democracy an oxymoron makes.

LL2008-03-01 04:24:39
ouch - get that gun away from my head and we might be friends anyway.

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